Visualization of advanced human prostate cancer lesions in living mice by a targeted gene transfer vector and optical imaging

Nat Med. 2002 Aug;8(8):891-7. doi: 10.1038/nm743. Epub 2002 Jul 22.


Non-invasive imaging and transcriptional targeting can improve the safety of therapeutic approaches in cancer. Here we demonstrate the ability to identify metastases in a human-prostate cancer model, employing a prostate-specific adenovirus vector (AdPSE-BC-luc) and a charge-coupled device-imaging system. AdPSE-BC-luc, which expresses firefly luciferase from an enhanced prostate-specific antigen promoter, restricted expression in the liver but produced robust signals in prostate tumors. In fact, expression was higher in advanced, androgen-independent tumors than in androgen-dependent lesions. Repetitive imaging over a three-week period after AdPSE-BC-luc injection into tumor-bearing mice revealed that the virus could locate and illuminate metastases in the lung and spine. Systemic injection of low doses of AdPSE-BC-luc illuminated lung metastasis. These results demonstrate the potential use of a non-invasive imaging modality in therapeutic and diagnostic strategies to manage prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diagnostic Imaging*
  • Gene Transfer Techniques*
  • Genetic Vectors*
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Luciferases / genetics
  • Luciferases / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Spine / pathology


  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Luciferases
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen